Elon Musk is known as a terrible communicator. For him, the fact that he has to deal with others – be it his teams, media or financial analysts – is a kind of nuisance, in any case an obstacle that affects the speed of his action and the fluidity of the business. Continuing, his first decision was to reduce the number of Twitter reporters from 100 to 2. He applied the same treatment to SpaceX or Tesla, sometimes devoting time for direct communication like when he visited his factories with the well-known youtubers like Tim Dodd or Marques Brownlee with whom he would spend hours of sometimes unstructured conversations where geeks talk. geeks, no filter or contradiction.
Human factor: an unknown concept for Musk
For Elon Musk, considering the human factor in general is a waste of time. What follows may seem disgusting, but it’s actually cognitive insensitivity, as if his prefrontal cortex is missing. In her 2017 biography of Musk, journalist Ashley Vance recounts this moving scene about Mary Beth Brown, the loyal assistant who worked with him from the beginning and lived through the dark times at Tesla and SpaceX – where many these. “MB”, as he is called, has an eye on everyone, goes around corners, follows the rhythm of his master’s slave, protects him from intruders, strictly manages an agenda that always lasts a hundred time. a week and often makes important decisions on behalf of his boss. “He’s an extension of Musk,” Ashley Vance said. One fine day, Mary Beth Brown asked Musk to consider his ten years of full commitment on his side in managing SpaceX and Tesla. Musk suggests he take a vacation. Upon her return, Mary Beth discovers that her boss has entrusted Gwynne Shotwell’s assistant (the general manager of SpaceX) with managing her agenda. “MB” will be leaving soon. Elon Musk explained this decision to his biographer, Elon Musk found that his collaborator found some comfort in his duties “and that, in fact, he needs a life“.
This terrifying episode, the thousands of Twitter employees who are now crying their fate should be in mind because everything is written there: Musk’s lack of empathy, his detachment, his obsessive character which is specific to some people with Asperger’s Syndrome.
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Twitter’s new owner, however, has some reason to be late because he turned it into a notoriously dysfunctional and uninnovative company, built on a succession of management defections, and at the antipodes of the titanium discipline of Tesla and SpaceX.
Instead of messing up Friday’s attack with its e-mails falling like so many cleavers, the mutinies of orders and counter-orders and the procession of shame, the founder was inspired to settle down and develop his argument.
What Musk should have told his troops
Here’s the speech that should have taken the Twitter boss. We thought he was recording a video. It is edited into a series of short shots, to give strength to an oral expression that often resembles an audio version of an inner monologue. The following purely fictional text is based on facts and public statements by Musk.
As of Thursday night, I am the sole owner of Twitter Incorporated. Because of this, I had to work hard to get the company back on track.
Over the past few months, together with the Tesla teams, we’ve had time to conduct extensive Twitter due diligence. And furthermore this dive led me to give up on this acquisition after discovering countless problems. I have changed my mind because I believe it is possible to make Twitter the most influential company in global public debate.
But the task is enormous.
Twitter is not doing well. In absolute terms and in relative terms. As shown by the latest quarterly results, we are currently losing $3 million a day. Compared to our competitors, we have been cut off: each Twitter employee generates less than 700,000 dollars in annual turnover, against 1.4 million for Facebook or Google and 2.4 million for Apple. Others count revenue per employee, we only record losses.
It is therefore untouchable.
This situation is the result of years of incompetence and largely mismanagement. In business as in life, the fish always rots from the head. This is why members of the C-Suite [les grandes directions] were removed from their posts. Some of these members were removed due to serious shortages. I will have a chance to talk about it again.
“Now every day counts”
We are facing a difficult financial situation and have to rely on heavy competition: if you doubt, look at the growth of a TikTok for example, these territories are invested one after the other, thanks really to the power of its algorithms . ‘Cause we’re not in the business of motivating opinion makers that we want. We need to align the company with a strong, flawless technical platform that can bring strong value to Twitter, for its users and the ad customers who support us and aren’t too happy.
It also requires a completely different organization that cannot be built on the ruins left by the previous management.
Our status as a private company, or soon to be [Twitter ne sera bientôt plus cotée en Bourse], leaving us full latitude to move quickly and deeply. Everything will be done in parallel. We will test our engineering skills; we will redesign the box organization chart based on SpaceX and Tesla. We have some credibility in this area. There is nothing spectacular about it: a large amount of work, and the simplest possible management structure in which people chosen for their skills are invested with the autonomy necessary to quickly make the necessary decisions. with the sole purpose of business efficiency and growth. For those who do not follow what has been said, I repeat three keywords: skills – we can find them and appreciate them on Twitter -, autonomy, and the search for excellence. This is how we created the world’s leading electric car manufacturer and dominate the global space launcher market – waiting to go to the Moon and Mars.
“I don’t treat myself to a new toy”
In recent weeks, you have been showered with more or less informed opinions on my character and my actions. Just remember one thing: I’m involved, I mean personally. Twitter’s takeover isn’t just about the world’s richest man getting a new toy. My fortune is very volatile and it is illiquid because it consists of shares in Tesla and SpaceX. This is why I had to personally borrow 13 billion dollars from banks that charged me a constant rate of payment.
We can’t achieve our goals with people who mostly work remotely, spending their days in sterile Zoom meetings or Slack conversations. This will be done with teams working on the site at least forty hours a week, developing code and delivering new features. Those on this platform are scandalously antediluvian. It will require a new one.
One last thing about Twitter’s business model. It is currently ineffective and must be improved. We will review, review, repeat, decide. Quickly. This is how we move forward. It has to do with power users [utilisateurs intensifs] of Twitter will need to contribute financially – a little – to the platform once they get a tangible benefit from it for their business, their personal brand, or their ego. In return, they will benefit from dedicated functionalities.
This also applies to advertisers. Some have seen fit to temporarily jump on Twitter to join an opinion that is often not in my favor. Others stay because they have confidence in our ability to perform. The former will return, I guarantee it, but at a high price.
To those who fear that Twitter will become a lawless agora, I say: look at the current state of the platform where, in a company of 7,500 people, it is still shaky algorithms that decide the suspension of accounts during conclaves are always oriented in the same direction will decide who has the right to speak. Twitter should be a platform where everyone can see their account: some appreciate loud speeches, others want more civilized and more constructive exchanges. We will make sure to meet all expectations. If this is what being a freedom of expression absolutist is, then I recognize myself in this sense.
The next few days won’t be easy for anyone, I know that. But the pursuit of purpose and the survival of the collective cannot leave room for good feelings.
See you next time.
This could be Elon Musk’s posture. But he does something different. Actress Linda Hamilton, briefly married to director James Cameron, also a man with countless accomplishments to his credit (and Musk’s friend), says her ex “definitely took the sidelines machine” in reference to the Terminator’s unrelenting coldness. Elon Musk is undoubtedly made of the same metal. A cold alloy.
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